Monday, April 07, 2008

Israel Is Preparing for War…What about Us?

07/04/08// Dar Al-Hayat

If the Israeli military maneuvers are not directed at Syria, Lebanon or even Hezbollah, as the assurances by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak go, then who are they directed at?

Obviously, Israel considers itself to be in a perpetual state of war, and consequently, it has to be in a continuous state of preparedness. The July 2006 experience was painful. The Hebrew State may have been taken by surprise at the time, and its military morale has suffered a blow from the traditional perspective of military superiority it boasts of. Yet, Israel has benefited politically from that experience, and probably militarily as well. It has assessed its areas of weakness through a substantial investigation conducted by its judicial institutions into the failures of the army and the stumbling political decision. It also asserted the need to be ready for all possibilities, both at the northern and north-eastern fronts, hence the slogan of the current maneuvers, "Protection lies in preparedness."
The war games include preparing Israelis for traditional attacks, such as the Katyusha missile attacks launched by Hezbollah or attacks by missiles equipped with chemical heads or perhaps even nuclear heads, which alarms Israel in particular in the event of a potential Iranian strike, especially given Ahmedinejad's repeated threats to "wipe Israel off the map." The war games also include mobilizing hospitals and emergency wards, taking precautionary measures in schools and municipalities, in addition of course to the conventional precautionary measures at the ministries and public institutions.
Amidst the preparations by the "strongest country in the region" as Barak described Israel while highlighting the need to prepare the backlines for the confrontation as "an essential element to achieve victory," we cannot but ask about the preparedness of Israel's enemies, the extent to which they have benefited from the 2006 confrontation from which they allegedly emerged victorious, and the manner in which they are preparing for upcoming possibilities.

In the Lebanese context, for example, let us compare the status of Hezbollah's "backlines" in 2006, especially with respect to the almost full popular support for Hezbollah and the army in the July 2006 war even when questions were raised about the lack of coordination in the attack on Israeli soldiers at the border, with its current state today given the domestic disintegration and fragmentation considered the natural outcome of the failure to positively exploit that confrontation as part of a national project instead of employing it in sectarian and factional arenas.
This new state is supposed to invoke a more realistic discourse than the speech used by Hezbollah's deputy Hussein Hajj Hassan who announced that "war games do not intimidate or scare us, and our people, the resistance, and the army are at the highest levels of preparedness." The resistance whose voice is represented by Hajj Hassan may be ready, but are the people ready? Is the army ready, especially after the declaration of its commander that he is leaving his post as a result of the political maneuvers to which he has been exposed without implementing the agreement over his nomination for the presidency?

As far as Israel's other enemy, Syria, is concerned, clear Israeli statements were made by Prime Minister Olmert in addition to Barak and his deputy Matan Vilnai, to assure Syria that there were no reasons to be concerned, "and they know this" according to Olmert, which implies that backchannels are sufficient to deliver assurances more effectively than explicit channels.
What reinforces the "assurances" that the Israeli war games are not directed at Syria is that two major breaches characterized as strategic in the military security sense have remained unanswered. The first was the strike directed at a military base in Deir al-Zur last September. According to the Israeli press, the details and the nature of the target attacked will be announced by American officials during a Congressional hearing on April 17th. The second was targeting Hezbollah's military leader, Imad Mughniyyeh, in the heart of Damascus. While Hezbollah has accused Israel of the assassination, Syrian officials have been reluctant to make such an accusation in "haste" and announced an investigation into the circumstances of the assassination.

The northern front is internally fragmented and cracked, and the north-eastern front is assured or assuring. Who then is the target of these Israeli war games?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home